Maria suffered abuse for almost her entire life starting when she was a girl. Her step-father sexually abused her when she was 13.
Her mother knew but could not stop it. She was not supported in any way and in fact her mother forced her to marry an older man.
She decided to escape and ran away to a neighboring country. When she was fifteen years old and far from home she became a victim of human trafficking.
Escaping from the trafficker, she came to the United States not knowing that she was pregnant with her first child.
Years later, Maria met her husband with whom she lived for eight years. This relationship became exploitive and abusive too. He sold her, offering her to other men, with whom she had to have sexual relations for money. He mentally, verbally and physically beat and terrorized her.
During one of the last attacks he bit her and pushed her down the stairs while pregnant. She lost her baby. When she went to the hospital because of injuries from the fall, it never came out that her husband pushed her.
At home recovering from the fall she was taking strong medications and she was sleeping a lot. A few days went by. She woke up and everything was very quiet in the house which was uncommon in a house full of 7 children. Something in her heart told her that she needed to be worried.
She went to her daughter’s bedroom and when she opened the door, she saw her daughter on her bed and her husband half naked assaulting her. Her daughter started to scream, “It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault.” Maria started to beat him and scream; he ran to the kitchen and she ran outside and called her neighbor for help and told her what happened.
Her neighbor called the police, and took Maria and her daughter with her to her house. The police came to Maria’s house; they interviewed both of them separately, and they sent Maria to the hospital with the social worker and her daughter and left him at the house with the rest of the children and the police officer.
When the officers finally left, her husband was alone with the rest of the children. He used this moment to plan his next move. He knew he could use the children to punish Maria and the family for contacting the police.
He left with the children.
When Maria returned home she found an empty house. She called the police officer again and they started to look for her husband.
The next day she called her brother-in-law and he told her that he had the children, and asked her not to call the police. He told her that he would give her back her children.
Maria’s husband escaped to his birth country.
Click here for part 2 of Maria’s story and how her life took a turn for the better.
If you know someone who needs help, remember: it is all about the first step. You are not alone. There is help and support available by calling the Empowerhouse 24/7 Hotline number: 540-373-9373.
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